Homicide

Detroit hit man takes responsibility for killings in new push to free young man in 4 murders

  • In this photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections is imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers. Professors from law schools trying to overturn the murder conviction of Davontae Sanford filed a affidavit in court Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from Smothers who says he committed the four murders in Detroit that Sanford pleaded guilty to in 2008 when he was 15. Smothers has long expressed a willingness to help Sanford, but a judge refused to allow him to testify during an earlier effort to throw out Sanford’s conviction. (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections is imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers. Professors from law schools trying to overturn the murder conviction of Davontae Sanford filed a affidavit in court Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from Smothers who says he committed the four murders in Detroit that Sanford pleaded guilty to in 2008 when he was 15. Smothers has long expressed a willingness to help Sanford, but a judge refused to allow him to testify during an earlier effort to throw out Sanford’s conviction. (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections is Davontae Sanford who pleaded guilty at 15 to killing four at a Detroit drug house. Professors from law schools trying to overturn Sanford's murder conviction filed a chilling affidavit in court Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers, who says he committed the murders, not Davontae Sanford. (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections is Davontae Sanford who pleaded guilty at 15 to killing four at a Detroit drug house. Professors from law schools trying to overturn Sanford's murder conviction filed a chilling affidavit in court Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers, who says he committed the murders, not Davontae Sanford. (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • David Moran, right, of the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school and Megan Crane, left, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University law school,  speak to reporters Wednesday, April 15, 2015, outside the Wayne County courthouse in Detroit. They are asking a judge to throw out the murder convictions of Davontae Sanford, a young man who pleaded guilty in 2008 at age 15. A hit man, Vincent Smothers, has signed an affidavit taking responsibility for the murders. (AP Photo/Ed White)

    David Moran, right, of the Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school and Megan Crane, left, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University law school, speak to reporters Wednesday, April 15, 2015, outside the Wayne County courthouse in Detroit. They are asking a judge to throw out the murder convictions of Davontae Sanford, a young man who pleaded guilty in 2008 at age 15. A hit man, Vincent Smothers, has signed an affidavit taking responsibility for the murders. (AP Photo/Ed White)  (The Associated Press)

Law schools trying to overturn the murder conviction of a young Detroit man have released a detailed affidavit from a hit man confessing to the four killings.

Professors from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University filed a chilling affidavit in court Wednesday from imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers, who says he committed the murders, not Davontae Sanford.

Sanford was 14, illiterate and blind in one eye when he walked up to police at the house where four people were killed in his Detroit neighborhood. He immediately became a suspect.

He was 15 when he pleaded guilty in 2008, and was sentenced to prison. But two weeks later, Smothers confessed to those and other killings. Smothers has long expressed a willingness to help Sanford.

Prosecutors say they'll respond in court.